An ancient Cambodian martial art having its origins on the battlefield, its name literally translates to “pounding a lion”. By using a diverse array of strikes and weapons it may not be surprising to know that Bokator has been responsible for numerous deaths.
Although technically it is no longer practiced, Combato was an extremely lethal fighting system used in World War II by the Canadian Armed Forces. First developed by Bill Underwood in 1910, after the war several law enforcement agencies requested him to teach their officers. Bill refused, however, on the grounds that Combato was too violent and thus developed Defendo as a more civilian friendly successor.
Jeet Kun Do
Developed by Bruce Lee, this hybrid martial art was his response to the “flowery” techniques used in other systems. Bruce felt that although these stylistic forms certainly had aesthetic appeal, their practical usefulness was nearly zero.
Practiced by the Korean military for hundreds of years, this martial art is split into three categories – thrust, strike, and slice. Unlike many of its Korean counterparts, however, its focus is much more on practical fighting techniques than artsy philosophies.
Although today it is more of a dance than anything else, this martial art was born in the slave ghettos of Brazil hundreds of years ago. Originally, it was meant to be a technique by which runaway slaves could defend themselves against attackers, but before long its practice came to be outlawed due to its “dangerous nature”. As a result practitioners disguised it as a dance by which it lives on today.
Originating on the streets of the crime ridden Palama settlement in Hawaii, this highly effective and to the point martial art combines numerous influences and was developed specifically to give locales the ability to defend themselves against not only gangs but also drunk navy sailors who had a tendency of starting fights.
Keysi Fighting Method
Developed by Justo Deigues Serrano as the cumulation of his fighting experiences on the streets of Spain, the Keysi method is intended to be used for self defense in violent street level encounters. It has gained widespread popularity in recent years and was even featured in the newer Batman movies.
Sambo is a deadly combination of grappling and wrestling that was developed for the Red Army in the early 1920’s. It was originally created specifically to improve the Soviet special force’s hand to hand combat capabilities, but after a surge in crime the government began training security guards and public law enforcement as well. Evidently it’s a bad idea to rob banks in Russia.
Okay, although brawling isn’t really a martial art, the idea of digging a pit and having two men duke it out street style just had to be on here somewhere. This modern day gladiator fighting was started by biker gangs in California and the practice has actually given rise to several world renowned competitive fighters.
Sometimes called Arnis or Kali in the west, Escrima is a Filipino Martial Art that was outlawed by Spanish invaders as a result of it being “too dangerous”. Like some others on this list it only exists today because for the next several hundred years it was disguised as a dance.
Similar to other non sport martial arts, this hybrid fighting technique developed by Tom Schrenk in the 90s doesn’t focus on scoring points or having correct form. Its sole purpose is to enable an outnumbered defender to turn the odds in his favor during a violent street assault. Unlike some other methods on this list, however, it does make an attempt to at least use reasonable levels of force.
An acronym standing for Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response, this method of self defense was developed by Tony Blauer in the 80s. Its focus is on using a person’s natural reflexes when faced with threatening situations and has been adopted by numerous police forces and militaries around the world.
A system of self defense built on ancient Japanese martial arts, Nindokai was developed by Dr. Gerhard Shonberger in Germany during the early 90’s. Similar to Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do it eliminates all of the “showy” techniques and focuses only on that which is effective to surviving a fight.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Gaining popularity around the world when Royce Gracie won the first, second, and fourth ultimate fighting championships, he ended up defeating much larger opponents who had trained a variety of other styles. The effectiveness of bjj, however, comes from its emphasis on ground fighting and giving smaller practitioners an advantage by employing body leverage.